• A few months ago, I decided to tackle my fear of flying. 
  • I attended a fear-of-flying course with British Airways and learned some breathing techniques. 
  • A recent bumpy flight to Greece showed me just how helpful the course was.

Last month, I boarded a three-hour flight from London to Greece to see my family for two weeks.

The trip was a big step for me: it was the first time I boarded a plane since completing the British Airway Flying with Confidence course in July.

The day-long course, which includes a test flight, helps nervous flyers conquer their fears, which for me are mainly turbulence and take-off.

During the course, I learned to rationalize my fear while also dealing with it. In particular, we were taught a breathing technique, which British Airways pilots called the "Breathe and Squeeze." It's meant to calm us down during the scary moments.

The "Breathe and Squeeze" involves first breathing air out of your mouth before sucking it back in through your nose slowly. While you inhale, you also squeeze the glutes and pelvic area. The exercise will not only slow your heart rate but will also reduce muscle tension.

When the plane started to shake 20 minutes after take-off, my instincts kicked in: I started sweating and grabbed the armrest. My breathing became shallow and I felt like I was on the verge of a panic attack.

I looked around to see if anyone else was reacting to the turbulence the way I was, but everyone seemed calm. So I forced myself to think about everything I had learned, and started to "breath and squeeze."

"Might as well try," I thought.

I will be honest. Before starting the breathing technique I really didn't think it would work. But around two minutes in, I noticed how my heart rate slowed down, and my whole body relaxed.

The plane was still bouncing around for a solid hour but suddenly I found myself embracing the turbulence. It wasn't very comfortable, but it was bearable. I couldn't believe it.

When the turbulence slowed down and the cabin crew came around with the food trolley, I ordered some chips and a drink. I put on my headphones and pulled out a book.

For the first time ever, I relaxed.

Source link